Beat acne, smarter!
I can’t tell you how many acne patients come in frustrated, telling me that they have been diligently spot treating with over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide, yet they are still getting new ones. Spot treating acne is essentially like the game of Whac-a-Mole, and your acne won’t get better unless you use medications that change the biology of your skin to preempt acne and make it less prone to break outs overall.
I just had this discussion with my sister and once she started using her acne meds daily, instead of just when she broke out, she noticed a marked reduction in her acne (giving her credit for this post, she thought this tidbit would be useful to someone else out there). The cornerstone of acne treatment is a retinoid (tretinoin, Retin-A, differin/adapalene, etc.). This miracle worker essentially re-programs your skin cells to be less likely to clog your pores, as well as reduces overall acne associated inflammation. Using this on the regular, even when your skin is clear, in addition to meds that will reduce the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to those pesky breakouts, reduce how many zits pop up over the long run. This is a much better strategy than trying to chase them down once they’ve developed, it’s like trying to trap llamas on the loose. Save spot treatment as a last resort for the stubborn ones. Give this strategy a try for a few weeks and I would love to hear how it goes! Stay tuned for another installment on acne myth-busting next week!